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COVID reveals rifts between black and white Protestants, evangelicals and non-evangelicals

Posted by / March 30, 2020

The COVID crisis is highlighting divides in the American religious landscape, most especially between black and white Protestants and evangelicals and non-evangelicals. 

According to the Pew Forum, one of the most reliable sources of religious data in the country, most white evangelicals (77%) are at least somewhat confident that Trump is doing a good job responding to the COVID pandemic. By contrast, 79% of black Protestants are not confident that he’s doing a good job. Only atheists are more skeptical than black Protestants.

White Protestants in general, but white evangelicals in particular, feel that both the news media and Democratic congressional leaders have exaggerated the risks of the coronavirus outbreak. Indeed, president of Liberty University and son of the founder of the Moral Majority Jerry Falwell Jr. has allowed students back on campus, drawing the fury of the college’s town, Lynchburg, VA. Professors run online classes now, but they’re expected to do so from their offices and welcome students to face-to-face office hours. 

Trump is making political hay out of white Protestants skepticism about the coronavirus. In a recent call with hundreds of pastors, Trump drew attention away from the “Chinese virus” and back to the November election, reminding the pastors of all he says he has done for them.

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